Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Africa 2

Day Seven

We went to the school today. Daughter got to go to class for awhile. She really liked it. The kids met the other kids. They were shy, but then I would be, too, if a million kids wanted to touch me. They would swarm around them and pet their hair and try and hold their hands. We tried to play games and interact, but it didn’t really work. All the kids wanted to do was swarm us and touch us.
This afternoon we tried skype with mom and dad. No luck. Our internet connection just isn’t strong enough. We can hear them perfectly, but they can’t hear us, and the call keeps getting dropped. Very disappointing. We will try again in the morning. Maybe we will have better luck then.

Dinner was very interesting. It was a spinage fish casserole thing. Quite strange. Didn’t taste bad, though. Son really wanted to go out and play with Cobi. He was down to just the bites of the spinage thing. Jody said, you gotta eat it. He downed it without us telling him again. Praise God! Maybe we are getting somewhere.

Day Eight—Friday

Today we took the day off to rest and prepare for Sunday.
After breakfast, Dad, who stayed up until 1 am their time waiting on us and I tried skype. No success again. L I could tell he was disappointed and upset about that. Perhaps it will work at the church or an internet café. I know this is hard, and skype would make it just a little bit easier.
For dinner we had peanut butter soup. So good. We didn’t have fu fu with it, thank God. It was rice. It would be perfect if it was all chicken with no skin and no fish! AND if they would cut back the peppers to about none!
After dinner, Coby came over and he and the kids watched kung fu panda. They all seemed to like that, but poor Coby, they kept telling him what was going t happen next!

Day Nine

Regular breakfast again, oatmeal, eggs, bread, tea. After breakfast we went back to our house. We don’t really know what to do around here half the time social wise. Do we hang out, or what? So, we just go home. We’ll figure it out eventually.
After awhile, we went and looked for bikes for the kids. We didn’t end up finding anything within what we were willing to pay. We did go back down town, and we waited on Frank, forever!!

We went into a muslim part of town. You could tell the difference. We also passed the palace.
For dinner they made us spaghetti with meatballs....but it was Ghanaian style.
Pastor Frank bought Son a cucumber. He was so excited. . They are available here, but not a part of Ghanaian’s diets. Coby had never had one. He was afraid to try it. He ate his whole slice, but didn’t ask for more. He said he liked it but I am not sure. Daughter got two slices and Son at the rest. It was fun to see the roles reversed!

Day Ten-Sunday
Our first Sunday here! After a slow week, I am ready for some action. We headed first to a smaller church that is in Kumasi, but further out. We have met the pastor before last time we were here. Jody preached there, and the pastor interpreted for him. He preached on dreams and persuing them. The church was only half done. I asked Frank how long it had been like that and he said many years.
Daughter and Son both went to kids church. Daughter went first, and Son went when he became too wrestless in church. They both liked it and had a good time. Kids church was outside under a tree.
After offering there, we went to Christ the King Palace. I was to preach there.

They took 4 offerings. The first was tithes and offering, then a worship offering, then an offering to God, and finally tithes---like for members or people with giving records. They bring it up in their record book. I’m telling you, that is the way to do it!
I spoke on purpose and being created on purpose. Frank interpreted for me. It went good, other than the kids acting up! But what can you expect. It was hot and boring and they couldn’t even understand what was going on!

Day Eleven

Today we went to the school. We were told we would teach TODAY! Eeek! I was to teach JR high English (4th grade) and Jody was to teach Math, algebra and Religion and Morals. I was to teach on paragraphs. Ok, I can handle that.
While waiting, the kids went out a few times, to face the kids. You can only do it for a few moments at a time because they want to maul the kids. They are just so excited to touch them and be their friends. At one point the head master came over with her stick and said, go away or I will beat you. Boy did those kids run!

Here at lunch time kids bring their bowl or some sort of container and a spoon (sometimes) from home. Lunch is served at the school. No brown bagging it. They ate up… whatever it was….
My class was first. It went well. I was nervous, but after I got going, it was a piece of cake, and the kids really seemed to enjoy it.

Jody enjoyed his class, too, and said the kids did as well. After our classes, we went home and took naps….we sure do sleep a lot around here.

For dinner it was left over fish. Daughter loves fish, but not fish skin (never has). We picked as much of the skin off as we could, but she still was not being cooperative. Then she took a big bite and choked on a bone. I think it was more because she was throwing a fit and upset than anything else. She gagged it all up. I took her to the bathroom, cleaned her up, gave her a pep talk, and she came out and ate it all like a champ. I was so proud of her.

Day Twelve,

Back to the school today. Jody is teaching math again. He was supposed to teach at 8 but read his schedule wrong, so they changed it to 10:30.

I received our itinerary for the rest of our time here. We are speaking tonight, wednesay, and Friday. We were supposed to travel somewhere this weekend, but it isn’t going to happen, don’t know why. (side note: our Wednesday and Friday meetings were cancelled)

They showed me a list of pastors and asked if I could set up a website for the school. After discussing it for about 20 minutes I then realized that what they wanted was email addresses, not a new website. The ‘tech’ guy showed me how to get on with Franks computer, but for whatever reason the connection in his office doesn’t work. So I used the one in the assistant’s office. His computer is SO SLOW, so I set it up on mine to see if it would be faster (and to see if skype would work). It was so much faster on my computer, but skype still didn’t work. Sad. L I was able to look at the pictures katie sent, so that was cool. Not long after I got all set up, it was time to go home, so I will have to finish tomorrow.

We went home and took a nap again. We headed over for dinner about 4, and made it just in the to watch the inauguration. Then we had dinner and headed off to our meeting. We got there at 7 and the pastor said he thought that we were coming last week, so no one was coming to see us. We waited to see who showed up. Only 3 people, so Frank decided we would go and we would reschedule. On our way to church he had said that after church he had 2 places to go the DR and somewhere else. We headed to the DR’s house, and got stuck in traffic for what seemed like forever. It was probably at least 30 minutes.
Finally, the DR’s house. We were there for about 45 minutes. Then we left and wend to some other person’s house. I have no idea who they were or why we went there so late (got there at 9). I guess it was just a house call. They gave the kids a soda, and opened up what looked like a champaing bottle for us (and they had champain glasses). Jody and I just looked at each other. Had we been on our own we probably would have just drank it to be polite, but we know that frank says Christians do not drink in Ghana, so what are we to do? When it was given to us we both smelled it and it didn’t smell like alcohol, and the he tasted it. Whew, we were safe, just sparkling fruit juice.

Day thirteen

Back to the school today, jody is to teach Religion and Morals. I set up all the email addresses, about 15. I also got our banking info and posted a blog. All of this at home would have taken about 30 minutes. Here it took me 3 hours!! I was more than aggravated.
After I was done, we went home to rest again. I am about as rested as I can be! We were supposed to speak tonight, but it was canceled.
After our rest, we went to the university to go to the ATM. On our way home, we passed the church school bus. By the smell you could tell that something was wrong. The clutch went out. Frank said it was 200 to fix it. But what they really needed was a new bus, which is about 3000.
Day fourteen

Back to the school today, but not until this afternoon. So, we hung out at the house. Frank told Jody he could drive us to school. So he did!

Cecilia had to come, because she had somewhere to be. We dropped her off at the seamstress. Jody had to drive down a very narrow roadway to do so, then he had to turn around, and ran over someone’s fabric that was drying on the ground. Actually he parked on it as he waited for Cecilia until someone told him he was on it.
I taught English again today. I finished the lesson on paragraphs and then we did irregular plural nouns. For the last 20 mintues of class we talked of America and took pictures. They had all sorts of questions about Obama and wanted to know if I voted for him. Of course all they really know about him is that he is part Kenyan, black and the president of America, so he is a mega hero in their eyes. I told them that no I did not vote for him. He is not from my political party, and he and I have opposite political views. VERY OPPOSITE!!!

I asked them what they thought of Americans and the first thing they all said was that we were rich. Oh, don’t I wish! But truly, we are rich in comparison. In comparison, the poorest American is richer than the average Ghanaian.

After class, Jody drove us back home. We picked up Cecilia first. He did a good job driving
Day Fifteen

Friday. Jody taught this morning, religion and morals, and while he did that I tested all of the email addresses and taught George (Frank’s assistant) how to use them. That took awhile. If he has such a time, I can’t imagine how they are going to teach all the pastors.
After Jody’s class, we went home. Jody drove us again today. The car wouldn’t start when we went to leave, the kids had to give us a push. Jody has never jumpstarted a car that way, but it was no problem.
Dinner was yam and lamb stew. It was so good! Tasted almost like mom’s stew. After dinner, we sat outside with Frank and talked while the kids played soccer. I saw a huge beetle/cockroach looking bug and called the kids over to take a look. It was big; the size of a quarter. While they were looking at it, it flew up and touched Daughter’s dress. They all screamed, but she freaked. She hit her clothes and hair and then jumped into my arms. It was so funny! The little kitten saw the bug and attacked it and ate it. It took Daughter a good 5 minutes to calm down.

Son was beginning to be cranky so he and dad went home. I stayed with Daughter so she could play awhile longer.

I talked to frank about wages. The min wage is 2 cedi’s a day. That is for gov workers. They bribe people to get things done so they will make more money. He says it’s quite corrupt. Other trades make more money. Like a mason. He makes about 10 cedis a day, which is considered very good. A maid who does not live with you would make about 5 cedis a day. That is not the best, considering that she has to pay about 2 cedis to get to your home. One that lives with you would make about 3.
While we were talking, I noticed that Daughter is laying down in the small pile of sand/dirt (for building) that they have been playing in, making ‘snow angels’. I was not so happy about that. She came over and was filthy. Her hair was gray she was so dirty.

Not long after that, we went home. I gave her a bath and had to wash her hair 2 times and condition it once. It was nasty. Oh, the things that girl does when she gets into her own world!
As we are settling down, I noticed that Son isn’t looking so great. I took his temp, and it was 101.7. I gave him some Tylenol, and he went to bed. He said his head hurt, too. “Like a bone is broken”. And he is stuffed up. I hope he feels better in the morning!
Jody and I are a little freaked as malaria symptoms (and the bugs love Son) are similar to flu symptoms. But it is flu season here, too.
Day sixteen,

Saturday. Son had a fitful night, and in turn so did we. He seems to feel much better today, but we are going to take it easy just in case.
Jody talked to Frank, who called his DR (the one we visited, Isaac), who told us to be on the safe side, get Son some malaria medicine. It is available over the counter. Even though they are on anti malaria, it is not 100%. Jody went with frank to get it, which means many detours along the way. He took 100 cedis with him, since we had no idea how much it was. It was 4 cedis.
Day seventeen, Sunday.

Well, it seems that Son is back to his old self. But Jody was up all night. He was “running” as they call it. It was either the bean soup or the pineapple that he ate right before bed.
Daughter seems to have a bit of the runs, too.

Well it is Sunday, so off we go, good bad or indifferent. We are at his house by 7, so we can leave by 7:30. We leave at 8:15. We are going to a town about 30 miles out of Kumasi to preach and look at a dam sight. We are going to meet a chief. Frank asks if we have anything to give. We don’t (I should have remembered that!) He says we will give him an envelope instead (i.e. money).
Jody is not feeling well, but is going to go anyway. Off we set, of course stopping several times along the way. George, Frank’s assistant is with us, and so we are nice and snug. Daughter is now feeling bad, so she is in the back laying down.

Our first stop is the church, but we don’t get out. We pick up another person. Now there are 9 in the car. We are going to meet the chief.

We get there, and greet the queen/chief mother (very important person) then the chief, then a few other guys. We shake all of their hands. They shake all of ours, after we are seated. Frank tells them why were are there (to help the people, possible dam). The chief gives us his blessing and his support and says that he will write a decree saying that if he passes then the next chief must give us his support, too.
This is the youngest chief I have met. He looks to be in his 20s. He is actually 35. Just recently have chiefs been young, as they are not looking at wisdom in age so much anymore.
The chief speaks through a spokesman, which is funny. The spokesman stands up, and the chief talks, looking at him. But the spokesman doesn’t say what he says to you. You just respond to the spokesman. Jody spoke to the chief, but used his left hand to gesture. Not something you do, which we didn’t know. Thankfully Ghanaians are very gracious.

After our meeting, we took pictures, and then off to the church. The service was long, but good. Daughter was burning up the whole time. I felt so bad for her. They brought her some crackers and coke to make her feel better. Jody wasn’t doing so hot either. He preached, but I could tell he wasn’t feeling good. He had to go to the bathroom outside in the woods, twice. Gross.

After church, we met with the church leaders. We were going to look at the dam sight but didn’t. We will come back to do that. Jody was happy, since he felt so bad. So, then we are on our way…or not. We go to the pastors house for lunch. Rice with fish (I am pretty sure that Ghanaians put fish in EVERYTHING). Daughter said her tummy hurt and she needed to go potty. The wife takes us to the potty. It is a cement square with a hole. I figure you sit on the square, but you don’t You get up on it and squat. I was going to help Daughter, but the wife insisted. Daughter wasn’t getting the whole squat thing, so the lady sat her on a small bucket, like they would use for a child to potty train.. Daughter sat there for a minute and couldn’t go. I don’t blame her. I don’t think I could have either. So after a bit she got up.

Son did good on eating. They gave him a huge bowl of rice, which I was not expecting him to eat, but he ate like 5 bites without complaining or whining, which was good.
On home we go, and yes. We stopped several times. We were about 10 minutes from home, but stuck in traffic, when Jody suddenly stuck his head out the window. At first I thought someone grabbed him or something, but no, he was throwing up. The looks on people’s faces was priceless. One guy told frank to pull over because he was puking. I guess you don’t do that on the street. You pull over to a bush.
Poor Jody, I felt so bad for him. Finally, we are home. It’s 4 o’clock. Frank insists we eat something for dinner so he is going to make tomato soup. Sounds good, but I am sure it is not campbells.
The kids all slept in the car on the way home, so they watched a movie while Jody slept. Daughter still has a temp, but seems to be feeling better. Well, Daughter, Son and Jody all had to go “running” before we settled down, and to put a cherry on top of the day, our water is not working. I think the plumber was here working on something, and forgot to turn the water back on.Dinner was in fact tomato soup, homemade. And it tasted quite good, except for the fish floating in it. Again, they put fish in everything! Our baked beans, our rice, any sauce even if it has another meat has some fish in it too, our soup, EVERYTHING! Enough with the fish already!!
Jody didn’t come to dinner, I brought dinner to him. He wasn’t hungry.

Finally, we have water. Jody flushed the toilet (the whole bathroom and hall smelled so bad!). And I gave Son a bath. Then into bed we all go. It has been a long day.

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